Customer reviews are important for two reasons: one they can indicate where you company winds up in local search engine rankings and two, they are deciding factors for whether a person does business with you. Moreover, Google uses the average ranking of your company in its local listings, so it’s visible to anyone who’s looking for your services.

With this in mind, your focus should be on acquiring as many third-party reviews (through Yelp) and Google reviews as you can.

Best places to acquire online reviews

Your My Business Google Page will be the best place to receive online reviews because once you acquire more than five reviews Google will display your star rating –a key driver of ranking and reputation. As noted above, you’ll also want customers to write reviews on third-party sites.

Tips for enticing customers to give reviews:

  • You can link to review profiles from your company’s website
  • Make acquiring online reviews a focal point of training with your staff
  • After completing services, send a link to review sites for customers to fill out
  • In your store place signage asking for reviews from customers
  • Include a request for a review on communication materials such as bills

It’s also important to build your reputation through social media platforms. Considering that 71 percent of online adults use Facebook and 63 percent of consumers are more likely to use a local business with a social media site, it’s important to build these up and ask for reviews on here too.

How to respond to negative reviews

When your company receives a negative review, turn it into an opportunity to make a bad situation good. First, it’s important to respond promptly to the negative review –within the first 24 hours. Two, apologize for any problems the customer encountered and provide a clear plan of action for helping them overcome their problem. Prospective customers will watch this exchange closely, so this is your opportunity to win them over as well.